The Spanish Stage in the Time of Lope de Vega

By Hugo Albert Rennert | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV

The representation of autos sacramentales. Description of the autos at Madrid. The carros. Abuse of the representation of autos. Protests of churchmen. Sums paid for the representation of autos. Autos in the theaters. Great expense of these festivals.

THE autos sacramentales1 were performed at the instance of the municipalities of the various cities and towns at the festival of Corpus Christi. As Ticknor says, they were in the height of their success in the age of Lope de Vega and in that immediately following, and had become an important part of the religious ceremonies arranged for the solemn sacramental festival to which they were devoted, not only in Madrid, but throughout Spain, the

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1
The meaning of this term has been given above (Chapter I). This is not the place for an esthetic appreciation of the autos sacramentales. For this the reader is referred to the works of Schack, Ticknor, Gonzalez Pedroso and others. Ticknor's criticism (Vol. II, p. 293, note) "that, at all periods, from first to last, the proper autos were rude, gross, and indecent" is much too severe and too sweeping. There are doubtless passages in some of these autos which seem irreverent to a Protestant, and of one, La Araucana, by Lope de Vega, so orthodox a Catholic as Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo has remarked: "Muy robusto debia de ser la fe del pueblo que toleró farsa tan irreverente y brutal," and to enjoy many of these productions they must be viewed "con los ojos de la Fé," to use Lope's own words. La Puente del Mundo, cited by Ticknor, is hardly a fair specimen of Lope's autos. It is an absurdly extravagant and irreverent production, as Menéndez y Pelayo admits, and is nothing more than a parody a lo divino of La Puente de Mantible, an episode of the French poem Fierabras (Academy's edition of Lope de Vega, Vol. II, p. lxxvi). What finally led to the suppression of the autos sacramentales by Charles III., in 1765, was, in all probability, not because of the autos themselves, but of the inevitable accompaniments of the auto: the procession and the loas, extremeses, and bayles. These frequently degenerated into a spirit of irreverence and brutality that is shocking. We need only cite as an instance that the very auto just mentioned, La Puente del

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The Spanish Stage in the Time of Lope de Vega
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter I 3
  • Chapter II 26
  • Chapter III 47
  • Chapter IV 62
  • Chapter V 76
  • Chapter VI 104
  • Chapter VII 137
  • Chapter VIII 159
  • Chapter IX 181
  • Chapter X 206
  • Chapter XI 229
  • Chapter XII 252
  • Chapter XIII 274
  • Chapter XIV 297
  • Chapter XV 322
  • Appendix 343
  • Appendix A - Representations in the Corrales of Madrid, 1579-1602. (from an Article by Sr. Pérez Pastor, in the Bulletin Hispanique (1906).) 345
  • Appendix B 357
  • Appendix C 360
  • Index 381
  • Addenda Et Corrigenda 403
  • List Of Spanish Actors And Actresses 1560-1680 407
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